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JVP asks govt. to name officials who had access to missing data at NMRA

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By Saman Indrajith

The JVP yesterday asked the government to reveal the names of the four officials who had been in-charge of data erased from the National Medicines Regulatory Authority (NMRA) database, recently.

“We have serious doubts whether this loss of data had been caused by an invisible hand of the pharmaceutical mafia. This is a serious security issue. It is mysterious how an estimated two terabytes—or 2,000 gigabytes—of classified information just disappeared from the Lanka Government Cloud (LGC). It is said that there were only four officials who had access to that data. We call on the government to name and identify those officials because this loss would endanger the business relationships of local drug companies with their foreign principals,” JVP politburo member and former MP Sunil Handunnetti said.

Addressing a press conference held at the JVP headquarters in Pelawatte, the former MP said that Terabytes of information attached by pharmaceutical companies to their applications to the NMRA for registration and licensing of medication have “disappeared” from the LGC.

“The government is bound by the responsibility to tell the nation the truth about this mysterious data loss. It is said that the CID is in the process of conducting an investigation. We assume that the Telecommunication Department too has a responsibility in this regard. Therefore the government should be in a position to tell people what has happened. There is a serious suspicion that this had been engineered by the paid-servants of the pharmaceutical mafia. If the government is not protecting the culprits it should reveal the names of those responsible for the loss. Unless the government does so we have reason to believe that there is a political connection in this matter,” Handunnetti said.



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Central Bank urged to save collapsing local industries

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The National Freedom Front (NFF) has requested the immediate intervention of the Governor of the Central Bank Ajith Nivard Cabraal to save micro, small and medium scale industries badly affected by the current economic downturn caused by the Covid-19.

The NFF parliamentary group comprises six members, including one National List.

Industries Minister Wimal Weerawansa, on behalf of the SLPP constituent parties, has warned of steep increase in unemployment, drop in the contribution made by small and medium scale industries to the national economy and the further widening of the gap between the rich and poor.

Party sources told The Island that the NFF had decided to take up the urgent matter because, in spite of repeated promises, those who had been severely affected were yet to receive assistance. Minister Weerawansa has urged the Central Bank to restructure loans obtained by affected industries and also extend the moratorium.

Weerawansa has in a letter dated Oct.18, told Cabraal that according to a survey conducted by the Industrial Development Board, micro, small and medium enterprises suffered serious setbacks. However, of the loans made available through the banking sector, a substantial segment had been disbursed among major players, the Minister said, while pointing out that in other countries in the region more than 50 percent of total loans were made available to micro, small and medium industries.

Unfortunately, here in Sri Lanka they received approximately 15 percent of the total given as loans, the minister said.

Minister Weerawansa said that though industries suffered, almost all state and private banks had recorded much improved performances with significant profits.

The Minister said that following his intervention with the cabinet of ministers, the government agreed on a plan of action to deal with the situation. It would be the responsibility of the Central Bank to implement the agreed proposals, he said.

(SF)

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So far no side effects among Pfizer vaccinated 15,000 A/L students

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By Rathindra Kuruwita

Over 15,000 GCE AL students had been vaccinated with Pfizer and there had not been any side effects, Colombo District Director of Health Dr. Dilip Liyanage told the media yesterday.

He said that the Ministry of Education had given them a list of 20,688 that needed to be vaccinated.

“We would like to assure parents that there is no need to worry. Over 15,000 children have been vaccinated and there have been no problems so far. Trust the health professionals and vaccinate your child at the first opportunity you get,” he said.

Dr. Liyanage added that children who missed their chance to get vaccinated on weekdays, can get vaccinated at the MOH office near their home.

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Govt. approves prohibition of cattle slaughter

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The government has approved the prohibition of cattle slaughter. The decision was announced at the weekly Cabinet meeting at the Information Department yesterday (19). The government said the relevant laws and regulations, including those passed by Local Government authorities would be amended for that purpse.

The Legal Draftsman has drafted Bills to amend the following acts and ordinances.

• Authority 272 of the Cattle Slaughter Ordinance No. 9 of 1893

• Act No. 29 of 1958 Concerning Animals

• Municipal Councils Ordinance – Section 252

• Section 255 of the Municipal Councils Ordinance

• Ordinance No. 15 of the Urban Council Act of 1987

The Attorney General has certified that the said Bills do not clash with the provisions of the Constitution.

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